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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Personal Productivity

OSX inventories, tips & hack collections

I love hearing how other people have set up their OSX Macs and learning about which programs they like to use for various tasks. I’m putting together a (very long and growing) profile of my own, but until that’s finished, I wanted to point to a few folks I’ve bookmarked who have posted great software and setup inventories as well as smart tips for workflow and productivity hacks. Here’s a few I like.

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Next actions: Both physical _and_ visible

Just a GTD quickie, but something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

David Allen defines next actions as “the next physical, visible activity that needs to be engaged in, in order to move the current reality toward completion.” [ch. 2, pg. 34; emphasis mine]. I’m finally realizing that this subtle change in thinking can have profound effects on the way you look at the stuff in your life.

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Living in XML?

Danny O’Brien, among others, has been noting how many nerds have started piping as much of their life as possible through personal XML feeds, using stuff like RSS and Atom.

I’m intrigued by this, but, apart from the 100 sites I read each day in NetNewsWire, I’m only dipping a toe into the world of personal RSS. I get a feed of shows my friends are attending and Netflix recommendations, but not too much more. I know there's a lot more out there.

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Are you _really_ getting anything done?

Glassofwater_2I wanted to address a couple criticisms that get made about producticity plans in general and Getting Things Done in particular.

Not to mount a big defense, exactly, but I think there are good points to mention and discuss because they contain germs of insight about whether and how you can actually improve yourself.

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Calling all Terminal nerds

When you find a web resource that would be helpful to a new OSX Terminal user, post it to del.cio.us with the tag, “OSXCLI”. It's a project or something.

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Full keyboard access and Finder shortcuts

Simple System Preference changes yield sexy results

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Quicksilver: moving around and training yourself

Most people pick up Quicksilver as an application launcher—a virtual valet that shortens the path to your desired application using a couple of intuitive moves. It’s powerful stuff, that, and it’s reason enough to use something like Quicksilver in your workflow. But, the sexy stuff comes when you learn what you can do to stuff with Quicksilver. Let’s start with some baby steps, then look at the advantages of making yourself use Quicksilver as much as possible.

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My GTD txt template

As a kind of addendum to the previous post on hacking Getting Things Done , I thought I’d share my Hamburger Helper template for a new GTD list. It’s pretty underwhelming, I have to admit, but it has a few features that are kind of neat.


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How does a geek hack GTD?

MytxtsetupProductivity programs like Getting Things Done obviously have been developed around the needs of managers, sales people, and entrepreneurs. This makes sense given that those are largely the people who are buying the books, listening to the CDs, and attending the seminars (or certainly represent the largest market share of potential customers).

But, one of my main goals with this site was to discuss the way that productivity plans and methods designed for the business world can be reframed in a context that's useful for developers, programmers, and garden-variety geeks. This is not to say that geeks don't fill many or all of these managerial roles in their work, but they also tend to have work styles, deliverables, and skillsets that are markedly different from the average, notional GTD user.

The prime example: "@computer." Man, geeks don't just use a computer for occasional work or to "look something up on 'The Interweb.'" They live on their laptop and take it anywhere they'd bring their wallet. They eat wireless like potato chips and crank out code for a living. They have an IM window and an IRC channel running all day. They're streaming conferences in and live-blogging conferences out. In short, if they follow the stock GTD setup, they will have a very, very long "@computer" list.

So I wanted to start a conversation about how geeks handle their lists, their projects, and their agendas--not so much in terms of the tool they use to store the information, although that's fair game--as with how they segment the information and decide when to break it into pieces. I'll start by providing the setup used by a San Francisco web developer who spends a lot of time on his PowerBook: me.

(Please note: since I'd love to see a lot of discussion about this, please post your response on your own site and just send a single trackback ping to this post (hit: http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/1128456). Comments below are ok for short responses or for posting links to your non-tracback-able site, but please try to limit yourself to a paragraph or so. Thanks.)

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Gmail for GTD Implementation

Using Gmail as your GTD mail implementation

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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